If there are buzz words regarding golf equipment the past few years and something I have written about too many times to count they are “get a fitting.” This is true of clubs of course but Bridgestone Golf proved it is a must when it comes to selecting a ball to play.
They pioneered ball fitting beginning 15 years ago and to date have done more than 3 million onsite golfer and fitter sessions and now have pushed the process to a new level with OTTO.
OTTO (Autonomous Ball Fitting Cart) is ball fitting process that doesn’t require a human fitter to find the correct Bridgestone ball for you. It’s just you and OTTO on the range and Bridgestone describes it as being both engaging and entertaining and for those of us that are not tech-savvy, easy to do.
Dan Murphy, Bridgestone’s president and CEO commented concerning the announcement of OTTO, “The genesis of the idea for OTTO was to bridge the gap between entertainment golf and on course golf. Currently there are over 25 million golfers who participate in non-traditional golf, meaning at off course entertainment venues or on simulators. As the leader in golf ball fitting, we feel a responsibility to make sure players continue to be excited and engaged while also having the ability to choose gear that best suits their game. With OTTO’S innovative design we’ve developed a great way to do it.”
Similar to a launch monitor, OTTO starts with a touch of the screen, then after the selection of the brand of ball you most often play from a dropdown list all that’s left to do is hit three drives. Couldn’t be simpler. OTTO then recommends the Bridgestone ball best suited to your swing.
“We know from extensive experience that players enjoy the game more when they have gear that fits them,” said Elliot Mellow, Golf Ball Marketing Manager at Bridgestone. “The ball is used for every single shot during a round and finding the model that fits your swing is critical. With the addition of OTTO, we feel Bridgestone clearly offers the most comprehensive fitting options in golf.”
Though OTTO will never completely supplant in-person fittings, Bridgestone’s online fittings or their video fitting program V-FIT, it is a logical expansion of their often-stated goal of helping each golfer play the ball that will help him or her score their best.
In my view it is also a great example of how Bridgestone can think outside the box to improve the golfing experience for recreational players and at the same time improve their position in the competitive ball business.